Module 1: Silent Invaders

Module Guide

Grade Level: Upper elementary (UE) / Middle school (MS) / High school (HS)

** Module 1 provides the key concepts, upon which all other Modules, activities and lessons are based **
Science Big Ideas:
  • The Practice of Science
  • Earth Structures
  • Diversity and Evolution of Living Organisms
  • Interdependence
Reading/Language Arts Strands/Standards:
  • Vocabulary Development
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Literary Analysis – Non-Fiction
  • Writing Process
  • Informative Writing
  • Communication – Listening and Speaking
  • Information Literacy – Research Process
  • Information Literacy – Technology
Social Studies Strands:
  • Geography
  • Civics and Government


Module 1 begins with a humorous 25-minute audio-visual presentation (Silent Invaders) about basic classification concepts related to Florida plant life (aquatic vs. terrestrial plants; emersed, submersed, floating, and floating-leaved; native, non-native and invasive). Students become familiar with these terms along with impacts invasive plant species are having on our freshwater habitats, natural areas, and neighborhoods. Big Ideas include species migration, adaption/extinction, empirical evidence, environmental changes, and human impacts. Guiding Questions, keyword vocabulary and definitions, and reading activities are provided along with positive actions we can take to help prevent the spread of invasive plant species.

The presentation is further supported by a host of hands-on activities that compliment the take home message and encourage students to venture into their own backyards—to try their hand at recognizing and/or identifying plant species commonly found in Florida. Reading activities and concept maps reinforce vocabulary and “big picture” concepts; Freshwater Plant Jigsaw Puzzles (available upon request) provide a fun way for students to learn about aquatic plants commonly found in Florida; Activity books (with FCAT-style questions) provide short stories about the impacts invasive plants are having on our aquatic habitats in Florida; Freshwater Plant BINGO!, Magnify It! and a Gross Plant Anatomy Lab provide an engaging introduction to plant structures and basic characteristics.

See below for overview of available activities and also see Table of Contents for detailed listing—all of which are available online or by request.

Key Objectives

  • Classify plants using a variety of criteria (aquatic vs terrestrial plants; emersed, floating, floating-leaved, submersed; native vs. non-native vs. invasive)
  • Learn techniques for recognizing and/or identifying plants
  • Understand the difference between native, non-native, and invasive plants
  • Identify environmental and economic impacts of invasive species
  • Identify positive actions we can take to help prevent invasive plant introductions in our own backyards and neighborhoods.

Lessons and Activities (Summary)

Introductory Materials
Lessons and Activities
Lab Activities